WINCHESTER, Mass. – Simmons College Head Field Hockey Coach Amanda Maxwell was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, while Julie Saltamartini (East Hampstead, N.H.) was selected the GNAC Rookie of the Year and was chosen for the GNAC First Team along with Kelly Williamson (Natick, Mass.), Amy Wilson (Falmouth, Mass.), Avery Hines (Newburyport, Mass.) and Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.). Williamson was also selected for the All-Sportsmanship Team, it was announced by the league today. This year marked the inaugural season that the GNAC sponsored field hockey.
Maxwell earns Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season. The mentor was also named the North Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year in 2013. Maxwell guided the Sharks to their first-ever conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth with a 3-1 victory over Anna Maria College on November 8. Simmons posted a 5-1 mark in conference play and owns a 13-5 overall record, which is just one victory shy of the school record set in 1996. The team and has won 25 games over the past two seasons under Maxwell's watch to match the school mark for wins in consecutive campaigns. After just five seasons, she is already the program's leader in career coaching wins. The New England native has built a successful program through outstanding recruiting efforts, highlighted by this year's Rookie of the Year and last year's NAC top rookie wearing Shark uniforms. Simmons has advanced to the conference playoffs in each of her five seasons and, last year, Maxwell directed the squad to the largest win-loss turnaround in school annals. With five First Team All-Conference honorees this year, the Sharks have been named All-League 11 times, including six on the first team during Maxwell's time at the Fenway campus.
For the second straight year the conference Rookie of the Year has come from Simmons College. Saltamartini wasn't just the best rookie in the GNAC this season, but was also one of the best players after being selected to the GNAC First Team. The forward burst onto the scene, being named the conference Rookie of the Week a league-high five times as well as the Eastern College Athletic Conference New England's top weekly rookie once and the GNAC Player of the Week twice. The Pinkerton Academy product ranks third among league leaders with 15 goals and fourth with 34 points. Her point total ranks as the third-most in a season in school history. The Nursing major has notched at least one point in 10 matches this season and scored multiple goals on six occasions, including a pair in the GNAC championship game to earn All-Tournament accolades. The rookie has started 13 of the 17 contests she's appeared in and put together a six-match point streak from September 28 to October 15 earlier this season. Simmons has posted a 9-1 record in games that she has registered at least one point, including four game-winning goals in those matches.
It cannot be overstated how important the defense has been to the Sharks' success this season and Hines was a major cog in that effort. The back earns First Team status after contributing to a defensive front that posted a 1.13 goals against average to rank second in the conference and 17th in the nation. The senior Captain was a Second Team All-NAC selection a year ago and was a key to this year's team's ability to not only prevent goals, but also shots, limiting opponents to just 9.1 shots per contest. A graduate of Newburyport High School, Hines has started 57 times during her 62-game career, while making eight defensive saves. She was also named to this year's All-Tournament team.
Williamson is a First Team selection after finishing second on the team with 25 points and 11 goals. A senior Captain, she was the team's top scorer in league games with six goals and an assist for 13 points in five contests and was honored as the GNAC Player of the Week early in the season. The forward tallied a team-high six game-winning goals and helped Simmons compile a 10-0 mark in matches that she registered at least one point. The Natick High School product strung together a five-match point streak from October 4-18 and was named to the GNAC All-Tournament team after potting a goal in the title match. Williamson was also tabbed to the GNAC's All-Sportsmanship Team. The Physical Therapy major has started 60 of 77 matches she's appeared in during her four-year tenure with the Sharks, while racking up 79 points on 36 goals and seven assists.
Wilson was chosen for the First Team for her ability to defend, contribute on the offense and serve as key component to the Sharks' penalty corners. The sophomore tallied nine points on three goals and three assists, while helping to control the ball in the middle of the field. She notched points in five different contests, including points in both GNAC Tournament games with a goal and an assist in the semifinals and an assist in the championship match. A graduate of Falmouth High School, Wilson started all 18 matches for Simmons and has started all 38 matches the Sharks have played during her time in Boston. For her career, the Exercise Science major has recorded 12 points on four goals and four assists to go with three defensive saves.
Rastello has been consistently recognized as one of the top goalkeepers in the GNAC, being named the league's Goalkeeper of the Week six times. The sophomore was a Second Team All-NAC selection last year and her First Team All-GNAC selection comes as no surprise this season. She has made 64 saves to record a .777 save percentage to rank second in the conference, while posting a 1.25 GAA to place second among GNAC leaders and 24th in the nation. A graduate of Salem High School, Rastello has posted a 12-5 mark on the year, including a league-best five shutouts, while starting all 17 matches she's appeared in and has played a total of 1178:25 minutes on the year. The second-year goalie has allowed two or fewer goals in all but three matches this season, while making seven or more saves on five occasions. She stopped a season-high 11 shots vs. Massachusetts Institute of Technology on September 4 and was named to the GNAC All-Tournament team after recording a .750 save mark and a 1.50 GAA in the semifinals and finals combined. For her career, the New Hampshire native has gotten the starting nod in all 25 matches she's played and owns a career .788 save percentage to go with a lifetime 1.64 goals against mark in 1750:35 minutes. She's posted a 16-9 record, including six shutouts.